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Full text of "Our slaves should have the Bible: an address delivered before the Abbeville Bible Society, at its anniversary, July 1854"

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JULY, 1854. 






TSc 1854 < 




ABBEVILLE, 11th Sept., 1854. 
Robert A. Fair, Esq., Sir : — You will much oblige a number 
of your fellow citizens, and especially the undersigned, by furnish- 
ing us, for publication, a copy of the Address which you delivered 
before the Abbeville District Bible Society, at its last annual 

Yours, Respectfully, 

A. L. GRAY, 
G. Mc. I). MILLER, 


ABBEVILLE C. II, 12th Scj)t., 1854. 
GrENTLBMEN: — Two considerations, the one pious and the other 
personal, incline me to yield to your request. The hope that some 
religious good may be accomplished, and the suggestion that my 
sentiments upon the subject discussed might be, indeed, that they 
had been, misrepresented, have influenced me to place the Address, 
alluded to in your note of yesterday, in your hands for publication. 

Yours, Truly, 

To Messrs. Jones, Gray, Hill, and others. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation 


The religion of Jesus is not a selfish religion. There 
is no disposition, on the part of its possessor, to hoard 
its joys within his own bosom — no disposition, exclu- 
sively to appropriate its great benefits. But, on the 
contraiy, as soon as the sinner is made to rejoice in 
hope of the glory of God, so soon does he feel within, 
a desire to proclaim the glad tidings — to tell of the 
wonderful mercy of God in Jesus, and to persuade 
others to taste and see that the Lord is good. 

A deep anxiety for the spiritual and eternal welfare 
of others, on the part of its converts, is, indeed, a dis- 
tinguishing feature of the Christian religion — discov- 
erable in the history of the believer, just in propoi tion 
to the measure of faith communicated. It was this 
that led John, the appointed harbinger of the King 
of Glory, to a life of abstinence among the mountains 
and deserts of Judea ; 'twas this that gave utterance 
to the cry, in the wilderness, " Repent, for the king- 
dom of Heaven is at hand ;" 'twas this that provoked 
the rebuke, " O generation of vipers, who hath warned 
you to flee the wrath to come." This anxiety 
pervaded the bosom of the Saviour himself, when 
upon earth in the flesh. His interest in the great 
work of man's redemption was not absorbed by the 
mere object of its accomplishment ; He was concerned, 
most deeply concerned, that the children of men 


should be benefitted by His salvation — that they 
should come to a knowledge of the truth — that they 
should believe and be saved. Hence the touching 
appeal : u Come unto me all ye that labor and are 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest : take my yoke 
upon you and learn of me ; for I am meek and lowly 
in heartland ye shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke 
is easy and my burden is light." It was this anxiety, 
that forced the apostles " into journeyings often, into 
perils of waters, into perils of robbers, into perils by 
their own countrymen, into perils by the heathen, 
into perils in the city, into perils in the wilderness, into 
perils in the sea, into perils among false brethren : in 
weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger 
and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." 
It was this that nerved Luther to the task of origina- 
ting the great moral revolutions of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, which swept like whirlwinds over the face of 
society — of arousing the church from the dark thral- 
dom into which she had fallen, and slumbered so long, 
and of preaching to the priest-ridden natives the free 
remission of sins without money and without price. — 
It is this that induces the missionary to cut asunder, 
the dearest and tenderest ties, and go in quest of king- 
doms and islands and tribes, unfriendly, unhealthy, 
and barbarous ; to preach the unsearchable riches of 
the Gospel of the Son of God, to the perishing heathen. 
It is this that has kept, and is still keeping, in suc- 
cessful operation the beautiful system of a preached 
Gospel, with which we, in common with other nations, 
are so highly favored. It is to this that we are indebt- 
ed for the organization of all the benevolent institu-. 


fcrons of the age ; tlie beneficial results of which, it 
may be, eternity alone can reveal. It is this, we 
trust, that has drawn this assembly together to-day, 
to celebrate the anniversary of our own beloved Soci- 
ety, the origination of which, may likewise be traced 
to the same divine implantation in the christian's 

Upon an occasion, then, like the present, the anni- 
versary of a society, the object of which is the distri- 
bution of the Bible — the free circulation of the "Word 
of God, and the dissemination of the benign principles 
of the Christian religion, it might not be altogether 
out of place, or unprofitable, to inquire if this anxiety 
for the spiritual welfare of others, in the bosoms of 
christians belonging to the Southern portion of this 
great Confederacy, prompts them to an impartial in- 
culcation of those benign principles upon all ranks — 
to inquire if we distribute the bread of life alike to 
all classes, giving to each its portion in due season. 

An unbiassed consideration of the facts, necessary 
to be noticed with a view to the solution of the in- 
quiry just mooted, will conduct us, we fear, to the 
painful conclusion, that there is amongst us a class, to 
which, in the administrations of the Word we are 
parsimoneous — to which, our allowance in holy things 
is too scanty for the maintenance of vigorous, spiritual 
life, and upon which thousands are perishing ; in brief, 
that there is amongst us a class of people, in whose 
bosoms lives the immortal principle, towards wh ich, 
in religious matters, we are derelict in duty. Doubt- 
less our allusion is understood — we mean our blave 


Of the several particulars if herein consists this der- 
eliction, we will specify but one — the discussion of 
which will be as much, Ave feel, as your j>atience will 

We are wanting in duty to our slaves in this, as a 
very essential particular — that we do not teach them 
to read the Scriptures of Eternal Truth. It is to this 
point, upon this occasion, that we would ask your at- 

We object, toto ccelo, to the legislation of this, or 
of any other State, where such may exist, the effect 
of which is to exclude the slave from the light of the 
Bible, as reflected from its own images ; and to clog 
the free circulation of the Word of God, with fines, 
imprisonments and stripes. We object to all such leg- 
islation, wherever found, as enacts, that slaves shall 
not be taught to read. 

We are aware of the process of induction, by which 
the conclusion is reached, that the slave should not be 
taught a knowledge of letters — and of the public good 
meant to be secured, by giving to this conclusion the 
form, force, and authority of legislation. Not in- 
tending to pervert the premises of the reasoner, or 
misstate the object of the legislator, we would avoid 
the insinuation, that this legislation, though objection- 
able, proceeded from the head or heai tof the infidel — 
that it is the offspring of feelings unfriendly to the Word 
of God, or that it germinated in a desire to suppress a 
knowledge of the Bible, to be-darken its teachings, 
or to be-cloud its illuminations. That no blow to 
Christianity, or disrespect to the Bible, or hostility 
whatever to the promulgation of its principles is in- 



tended by it, wo readily grant. But, the reasoning 
adopted upon tlie sul)ject is short, and is this: It is 
taken for granted that slavery is most compatible with 
a state of profound ignorance ; that it will not bear 
the least degree of enlightenment ; and that just in 
proportion to their elevation and advancement, intel* 
lectually, will be the restiesness and dissatisfaction of 
slaves with their condition — thus originating the dan- 
ger that this restlessness and dissatisfaction might lead 
to rebellion and insubordination — to the perpetuation 
of horrors akin to those of St. Domingo, or of trage- 
dies similar to those formerly enacted in and about 
Stono, and to prevent the bloody occurence of which, 
is the public good meant to be accomplished by the 
legislation referred to. 

Such, we claim to be a correct representation of 
the premises of the reasoner, and a true statement of 
the object of the legislator. Neither would we mis- 
represent the positions of those who defend this leg- 
islation, as they allege, upon principles of political 
policy. Of them, it is but just to say, there are those 
who are willing to admit, and in fact, who do admit, 
that no danger whatever is to be apprehended from 
allowing our slaves to read the Scriptures ; provided 
their reading could be confined to the Scriptures. — 
But they assert that this ability to read the Bible 
would be perverted and abused — that other docu- 
ments, books and papers, would be sought and read, 
and that the information which would be derived 
therefrom, might, in its consequences, prove disastrous 
to the institution of slavery, and imminently danger- 
ous and hostile to the saietv of the master. But it is 


not to be denied, that there are others who "boldly 
assert and maintain, that the degree of mental im- 
provement, derivable from the Bible itself and alone, 
would disturb the slave's contentment, and probably 
lead to the same fearful results— to prevent the possi- 
ble occurence of which, they all agree that slaves 
should not at all be taught a knowledge of letters, or 
even allowed to read the Bible — alleging, at the same 
time, (we will do them the justice to remark,) that for 
all the essential purposes of salvation, oral instruction 
from the Bible is amply sufficient. 

We respectfully submit, that this reasoning comes 
with a bad grace from the lips of those who have been 
reared up amidst the privileges of a Gospel land, and 
in the light of a Gospel day — that this legislation is 
unbecoming the South — that it is unbecoming the 
statute books of our own chivalrous State — and that 
it is a slur upon the christian age in which we live. 

The fear to put the Bible into the hands of the 
slave, argues, in the first place, a want of confidence 
in the efficacy of its divine teachings, which no man, 
especially no Christian, should allow himself to feel or 
acknowledge. It is a fact, that in all our reasonings 
upon this subject, the effect of the Bible, as read by 
himself, upon the heart of the slave, is entirely over- 
looked ; no allowance whatever is made for this, — it 
never once enters into the calculation. We look at 
its influence upon the intellect, and argue learnedly 
and plausibly therefrom ; but no view of its influence 
upon the heart, is entertained for a moment. We 
base our calculations upon its outward, not upon its 
inward teachings. We reason from its effects upon the 


outward, not from its effects upon the inner man. We 
gage with trembling and alarm upon the natural man, 
as lie stands with his Bible in his hand and i 
dreading the rising .of a mighty tempest of rebellion 
in his breast, as he drinks in knowledge, and his mind 
opens up to the realities of his physical condition, and 
of the world around him. But never, with opposite 
emotions swelling the bosom, do Ave allow ourselves 
to gaze upon the spiritual nian, as he stands with the 
same inspired volume in his hand, and reads, awed by- 
its commands, humbled by its teachings, and led by 
its promises, as he too drinks in knowledge, and Ki$ 
mind opens up to the realities of his condition in the 
sight of the great God, and of the world beyond him. 
It is strange, that when the question is, as to placing 
the Bible in the hands of the slave, we are inclined to 
ascribe to its teachings a reverse influence to that usu- 
ally claimed for them. We argue as though the Bible, 
in the hands of the slave, would metamorphose him 
into a demon — a blood-thirsty insurrectionist — a mid- 
night assassin, Not so when the question is, as to 
placing the Bible in the hands of the China-man, the 
Hindoo, or the inhabitants of the Isles of the sea.— 
Then Ave are loud and long in praise of its power up- 
on the human heart— to melt it, to humble it, to sub- 
due it, and to disgorge it of everything that is fierce, 
angry, turbulent, rebellious or that is at all hostile to 
the peaceful sway of Immanuers sceptre. It is pas? 
sing strange, that wJben the question is, as to placing 
the Bible in the hands of the slave, we reverse our 
opinionsas to the importance of an ability to read the 
word, and argue the ample sufficiency of oral Scriptural 

12 or ft &JCVE3 snOtTLD HAVE Tim BIBLE. 

instruction, for all the essential purposes of salvation. 
Not so when the question is, as to placing it in the 
hands of the heathen. Then we argue the perfect 
iinpotency of oral instruction, aside from an ability to 
read the Scriptures, and call loudly for the school- 
house and the printing press, even at the cost of im- 
mense expenditures. But to me, the strangest thing 
of all, is the fact, that the very same Christians — fol- 
lowers of the meek and lowly Jesus, who invoke the 
prayers of the Church and of Christendom, for men 
and means to put the Bible into the hands of the idol- 
ator — should invoke legislation, and use the strong arm 
of the law to wrest it from their own slaves, members 
of their own families, nurses of their own children. 

Does the feature of slavery justify the distinction 
made, or destroy the palpable antagonism in the rea- 
soning ? If the teachings of Holy Writ were at war 
with the institution of slavery, and we were struggling 
to maintain it in opposition to those teachings ; or if 
the proposition was, to put the slave in possession of 
a knowledge of the arts and sciences — to confer a high 
degree of intellectual culture- — fully to educate him — 
we might be disposed to yield the point. But, how 
stands the case ? Why, that the teachings of the 
Bible are not only not unfriendly to the institution of 
slavery, but that it is in them the institution is most 
amply recognized ; it is upon them that we triumph- 
antly rest its defence ; and the proposition is, not to 
educate, but simply to teach the slave to read the 
Bible — nothing more. 

Does the accessibility of the slave to other books, 
documents and papers, in the libraries, and upon the 

on; slaves rnoriJ) ijaye titt: eiele. 13 

tables of the master, mid his exposure to the baneful 
influence of pamphlets and tract*, from the hands of 
designing and intriguing men, justify the hard decis- 
ion that lie is to be denied the privilege of reading 
the Word of God ? If we had no confidence "what- 
ever in the conservative nature of the influence of 
divine truth, operating upon the heart, and could be 
made sensible of the possibility of danger from this 
source, still we would say, give the Bible to the slave 
— releave it from the embargo of legislation — and 
would urge, by all means, to provide against the danger 
in some way, other than by muzzling the oracles of the 
living God. Might not all cause of alarm from appre- 
hensions of this character, be removed, by some de- 
gree of care and particularity on the part of the mas- 
ter, and the enforcement of stringent regulations to 
counteract the influence of the moral incendiary ? — 
Let the key be turned upon the library, as it is turned 
upon the coffer, the grocery room and the granary ; 
let the slave know, and be taught, that he will be as 
certainly and as surely punished for purloining from 
the former, as he always has been, and will be, for 
purloining from the latter ; and let the movements of 
the suspicious be watched with the greatest vigilance 
— and these stringent measures, in all their force, be 
brought to bear, upon the slightest deviation from 
conduct of the strictest propriety, in reference to our 
slave population. It occurs to us, that in this way, 
the danger, if any, might be avoided. 

But does the fact, that the slave lives in a land of 
Bibles and of Bible institutions, and enjoys the bene- 
fit of the reflected light of the Gospel, justify the as- 


sumption of responsibility, upon our part, to withhold 
from him tie written Word? We admit the possi- 
bility of the slaves salvation with the lights now be- 
fore him. We go further, and admit that many of 
them are saved by the use of the instrumentalities 
now enjoyed. But, are we prepared to say, that 
many more of them would not be saved by means of 
the reading of the Word \ This is the question for 
our consideration, and a grave one it is. Are we satis- 
fied that the spiritual interests of not a single individ- 
ual of our slave population would be promoted by 
means of reading the Bible ? If we are not, is'nt 
it a fearful responsibility we have assumed? We 
should see to it, that we stand not in the way of the 
salvation of souls — yea, of even one soul. 

In the second place, this fear to put the Bible into 
the hands of the slave, argues either a want of confi- 
dence in the Scriptural propriety of the institution, or 
a want of confidence in the propriety of our own con- 
duct, in reference to the institution. We are either 
afraid for the light of the Bible to shine upon the in- 
stitution, or for it to shine upon our conduct as slave- 
holders. We are either afraid for the slave to bring 
his condition to the test of Bible authority, or we are 
afraid for him to square our conduct towards him as 
his master, by the plumb of Bible injunction. Which 
is it ? We deny all want of confidence in the entire 
propriety and morality of the institution ; we know 
that it is recognised and authorized in the teachings 
of Holy Writ ; we feel that it can be successfully and 
triumphantly maintained and defended upon Scriptur- 
al grounds ; we have not the slightest misgivings up- 


on this poiat. We cannot, and do not fear, therefore, 
u> exhibit to the slave our wan-ant for holding him iu 
bondage — to unfold to him the broad parchment upon 
whieli is written our right and title to his obed'enee 
and service, sealed with the seal of Him who rules 
and reigns oil nigh. Can it be, then, that we are 
afraid for the light of the Bible to shine upon the 
manner in which Ave, as masters, fulfil the conditions 
and covenants also written upon this parchment, for 
our observance, and of which we would keep the slave 
in the dark \ Can it be, because the practical opera- 
tion of the system is, in many respects, far below the 
Bible standard of duty imposed upon the master, and 
we would disl'ke for the slave, by the light of its 
teachings, to be enabled to discern, day by day, our 
glaring defalcations ? Is it information and knowledge 
of this character, that we fear the slave will derive 
from the perusal of the sacred pages of the Bible, to 
render him restless and dissatisfied with his condition 
— to fill his heart with rebellion against the authority 
of the master, and to impel him to deeds of bloody 
daring ? If so, from what source arises the impedi- 
ment in the way of putting the Scriptures into his 
hands? From the Bible, or from the master ? Is it 
to be found iu the teachings of the Bible, or in any 
thing connected with the Bible ? Or, is it to be found 
in the conduct of the master ? Is the Bible the au- 
thor of the difficulty, or is the master its author ? We 
have seen that the Bible is not guilty of the charge ; 
if the master is, let the guilt be wiped out, and then 
the difficulty will be removed. 


But be the facts and the opinions of others, uport 
this point, as they may, and what they may, it is our 
deliberate conviction that this is, in truth and verity, 
the only impediment or difficulty in the way of the 
slave's access to the Scriptures. The Bible has done 
its duty most fully, in reference to the institution of 
slavery : it recognizes it from begining to ending ; it 
authorizes it from the plain and legitimate inferences 
of its teachings. It does more : it speaks to the slave ; 
it tells him that he is a slave ; that he has a master, 
and solemnly enjoins him to render obedience and 
service to that master. " Servants, be obedient to 
them that are your masters, according to the flesh, 
with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, 
as unto Christ ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers ; 
but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God 
from the heart." "Exhort servants to be obedient 
unto their own masters, and to please them well in all 
things; not answering again; not purloining, but 
shoAving all good fidelity ; that they may adorn the 
doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." " Ser- 
vants be subject to your masters with all fear ; not only 
to the good and gentle, but also to the froward ; for 
this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward 
God endure grief, suffering wrongfully." This is the 
language of inspiration — these are the duties imposed 
upon servants, and this is the service exacted of them 
by the master, to the strict letter of the law, if, in 
many instances, it is not transcended. 

Now, if, as masters, we would only do our duty — 
if Ave would only study the full import of the text, 
''Masters give unto your servants that Avhich is just 

orn slaves should have the bible. 17 

and equal, knowing that ye also have amaster in hea- 
ven ;" if we would meet the full measure of duty impo- 
sed upon us, when we exacted the fulfillment of the 
measure imposed upon our servants — if more were 
not exacted upon the one hand, than the Bible au- 
thorized, and less rendered on the other, than it re- 
quired ; or, hi other words, if the scriptural view of 
slavery were allowed to prevail, — that is, a reasona- 
ble obedience and service on the part of the servant, 
and humanity and kindness on the part of the master, 
upon the mere operation of the simple principle of hu- 
man nature, aside from any influence of the Bible, as 
an inspired volume, we would have nothing to fear 
from putting it, or, in my opinion, any other book, in- 
to the hands of the slave. He would be drawn to- 
wards, and bound to the master in the strongest bonds 
of affection, and by the ties of a friendship that no in- 
fluence could sever. 

Show me the man who looks upon the institution 
of Slavery, as an institution affording mutual benefits, 
— advantages to the slave, as well as advantages to 
the master — a man whose bearing towards his slave is 
uniformly kind and humane — -who sympathises with 
them in sickness, in their bereavements and petty 
troubles — and I will show you servants whose devo- 
tion to their masters would not only prompt them to 
a willing and faithful obedience and service, or mani- 
fest itself in expressions of the most heartfelt sor- 
row at affliction and bereavement in the blasters fam- 
ily, but even to cause them to sacrifice their lives in 
behalf of their master, or any member of their mas- 
ter's family. The truth of this is verified by every- 
day s observation and experience. We have seen the 
slave with a smiling face, a buoyant heart, and a 
nimble foot, fly in cheerful obedience to the commands 
of a kind master ; we have seen him immersed hi the 


"(')•)' bitterness of sorrow, at the occurrence of a roas- 
ter's death, or the death of a master's child ; nay, we 
have seen him jeopardise his life in defence of his mas- 
ter and his family ; and all this ? too, under the oper- 
ation of a system which puts the Bible in the back- 
ground, so far as they are concerned, and when the rays 
of its light are but feebly reflected, How much might 
this hap]>y state of things, between master and servant, 
be enhanced^ by the genial influence of the light of Ke-- 
velatlon beaming broadly upon it — each witha copy of 
the law in his hand, learning well his duties, the one 
to the other, and to his God, and each inspired with a 
holy determination faithfully to discharge them ? 
Why, to such an extent, as to put the stability of the 
institution beyond the possibility of cavil, or of a doubt 
■ — as to make it perfectly impregnable. 

But, on the other hand, show me a man who looks 
upon the institution of slavery as a one side d affair — as 
an institution alone for the benefit and advantage of 
the master — a man who regards the slave as he does 
the mule or the ox — a beast of burden ; whose mind 
is ever revolving the problem, the greatest amount 
of labor at the least expense of food and clothing — 
who visits the slave in sickness, as he visits the sick 
horse, with a drench, hoping to witness its remedial 
effects in his speedy return to toil — whose cupidity 
impels him to chive him, under the point of the lash, 
from earliest dawn to latest eve, to promote his own 
selfish purposes — -to accumulate the riches of this 
world for the luxurious rioting of himself and family — 
and I will show you servants whose hearts and 1 feel- 
ings are utterly estranged from their master, and in 
whose bosoms rankle a hatred and an antagonism to- 
wards their master, and towards the institution of 
slavery, as deadly as the reptile's poison. And, more- 
over, I will show you a man who ever lives in fear for 


his own life at tjie hands of his slaves, and in 
r r.istant dresad of an insurrection ; who is ever 
harping his doubts as to the stability of the institu- 
tion, and calling loudly fpr stringent measures to 
secure its perpetuity ; and who is ever ready to 
stigmatize the man, who does not folly subscribe to 
Lis own cowardly and tyrannical whims, with an 
odious epithet ; to whisper into the ears of the 
community the hint, that his sentiments would 
better become the atmosphere of a high no rthen cli- 
mate. A state of affairs like this, between master and 
servant, won Id not hear the light of the Bible, we 
confess. It is in such a state of affairs that the fear to 
put it into the hands of the slave would not be out of 
place. It is just such a state of affairs, if allowed to 
continue, as will ever keep it from him. Besides, it is 
just such a state of affairs as will weaken the institu- 
tion, by destroying the confidence of the master in its 
stability, and of the slave in its propriety and jus- 
tice — as will expose it to the shafts of the enemy, and 
ever keep it tottering to and fro. 

But, thirdly and lastly — this fear to put the Bible 
into the hands of the slave, argues a want of confi- 
dence in the faithfulness of the Clod of the Bible, to 
protect ami defend his people from all harm and dan- 
ger, when in the conscientious discharge of their duty. 
If our argument in defence of the institution of slavery 
be correct — if slavery Is right in the sight of Heaven, 
we should not hesitate for one moment to give the Bible 
to the slave, as a light to his feet, and a lamp to his 
path} and trust the consequences to God. If it is his will 
and purpose for one portion of his intelligent creatures 
to live in bondage to another portion of his intelligent 
creatures— -to serve another, to be slaves to another — 
lie will will never allow harm and dismay to result to 
theone, as a consequence of the faithful discharge <>f 
s<> plain and obvions a duty as teaching the otherto 


to read and meditate upon his Holy Word ; ]>ut will 
maintain tlie institution, and bless and chasten it to 
the mutual benefit, advantage, and happiness of both 
master and servant. The idea, supposition, or fear, that 
the converse of this would be the result, is contrary to 
the import and meaning of Revelation ; it is at variance 
with all just conceptions of the attributes of the Dei- 
ty, and is at war with the whole scheme an d spirit of 
the Christian Religion. Yet, our conduct in the prem- 
ises, forces us into this position, it puts into our mouths 
the argument, that if we teach our slaves to read the 
Bible, however humbly and prayerfully we discharge 
the duty, in hopes that it will make them better and 
happier here, and redoun to the honor and glory of 
God, in the eternal happiness of many of them in the 
world to come — still, we fear that God will not sanc- 
tify the means of the reading of his Word — one of his 
own appointed means, to the conviction, conversion, and 
salvation of our servants. We even fear that he will 
allow the information derivable from the Bible — the 
scriptures of Eternal Truth, his own AVord — to stir up 
rebellion in the hearts of our servants, or permit the 
ability to read his Word, to be perverted and abused, 
to the utter destruction of the institution, amidst the 
terrible scenes of a bloody insurrection. Therefore 
we will leave God, and his Word, and his superin- 
tending and protecting providence entirely out of the 
question : we cannot trust him ; we will take the 
whole s abject liy o our own hands, and depend upon 
our own arm and strength to maintain the institution 
and to protect and defend ourselves and families ; we 
will pass by the legislation of Heaven upon the sub- 
ject,*^ weak and inefficient, and look to human legis- 
lation as amply sufficient, and all powerful to insure 
the stability and perpetuity of the institution. We 
will not resort to moral appliances in aid of the insti- 
tution — as argument, to convince the slave that his 


condition is right in tlie light of Revelation, of retir 
s >n, and of a liberal philanthropy — persuasion, to 
render him contented therewith — exhortation, to re- 
eeive from him a willing and cheerful obedience and 
service; but we will make use of physical appli- 
ances, the gibbet and the lash, to compel him to be 
contented with his condition, whetherhe believes it to 
be right or wrong, and to extort from him obedience 
and service, whether or not he is willing fco render 
them. We will have nothing to do with the Bible, by 
way of enabling us to manage and govern our slaves; 
for this purpose it is worthies-, utterly worthless ; we 
cannot trust it's (rod. A position resting upon sandy, 
crumbling foundations — an argument abounding in 
fallacies and absurdities— a conclusion fraught with 
the greatest danger. 

There is enough between the lids of the Bible, up- 
on t\\e subject, fully impressed upon the mind and 
heart of the slave by human and divine instrumental- 
ities, to guarantee the stability and perpetuity of the 
institution of slavery, without one line of legislation, 
upon our part, looking tothe accomplishment of such 
an end. So rooted and grounded are we in the faith 
of the entire Scriptural propriety, of slavery, from the 
fulness of the Bible upon the subject, we cannot dis- 
card from the mind the belief, that it is by means of 
the teachings of His Word, in justification of the in- 
stitution, operating by divine influence upon the heart 
of the slave, and we may say of the master too, the 
Almighty intended to secure its perpetuation, H so, 
we should trust Him for the accomplishment of His 
purposes, and ,look alone to these means in hoped of 
maintaining the institution ; for it is by them alone 
that it can be maintained. 

But Ave have wandered afar off from this view of 
the matter. It seems to be a part of our system to 
keep the teachings of the Bible, upon the subject of 


orn slave; should have the bible. 

rfuvepy, entirely out of the eight of the slave — to 
keep him in profound ignorance of them. The effect 

of the legislation of which we complain, is certainly 
to suppress a knowledge of tbem, at least, so far as 
such knowledge can he obtained by reading. As to 
their promulgation, the Pulpitis dumb. As to their 
in -ideation, the master is mute. We have yet to hear 
the first sermon, presenting to either the master or 
servant, an argument in defence of slavery. We have 
yet to hear the first sermon, explaining and enforcing 
the relative duties of master and servant. 'Tis true, 
occasionally these duties are alluded to, incidentally, in 
discourses explaining and enforcing the general duties 
and ol (ligations appertaining to the Christian religion ; 
but, from some cause, our ministers are indisposed to 
fie > the naked, abstract subject in mixed congrega- 
tion- of masters and servants, or when discoursing to 
either alone. 

In the family circle, around the fireside, or at the 
table, in the presence of our servants, all allusion to 
the subject is carefully avoided. Even when the 
subject is under discussion, and a servant, in the dis- 
charge of some duty, makes his appearance, the finger 
is instantly placed upon the mouth, and all is a^ silent 
as the grave — as still as death. The master n -ver as- 
sembles his servants and opens his Bible for the pur- 
p >se o e select i.ig therefrom and presenting to them, 
passages in proof of the Scriptural propriety of the 
institution of slavery — convincing them from the 
Scriptures that their condition is right in the sight of 
God, and persuading them to be contented with it — or 
of instructing them in their duties as servants, from 
texts also extracted from the pages of the Sacred Re- 
cord — the very authority of which would have a 
chastening and salutary influence upon their hearts. 

In consequence of this course of policy, there is a 
prevailing ignorance upon the subject of slavery, on 


the part of both master and servant, by no means con- 
genial to the health of the institution. We would 
not b& startled at the announcement of the fact, that 
two-thirds of our slave population did not know or 
believe illai the subject of slavery, ortheir condition 
was ever alluded to in the Bible ; that two-thirds of 
them are in utter ignorance of the authority by which 
we essay to hold them in bondage, or demand at their 
hands obedience and service. To such, how galling 
is the yoke — -how bitter the bondage. Nor would we 
be startled at the announcement of the fact, that many 
masters were ignorant of a Scriptural view of the 
subject — of the true grounds upon which to place the 
institution, and of their duties as masters — which ign< - 
ranee betrays them into many errors and abuses, the 
tendency of which is to undermine the institution. — 
Now, relieve the minds of both parties of this dark- 
ness and ignorance, and thoroughly educate and in- 
doctrinate them into clear, sound, intelligent, Scriptur- 
al views of the whole subject, and of what an immense 
w eight will the institution be relieved ; and of what a 
burden will the bosoms of slaves, and the minds of 
masters also be relieved. 

But, in vew of the gross ignorance and superstition 
of our slaves in all things pertaining to religion ; in 
view of the utter indifference of the great mass of 
them upon the subject of religion ; in view of the 
degrading vices, immoralities and pollutions pre* 
vailing amongst them ; in view of the vast dispropor- 
tion in the numbers of those who even profess a hope 
in Jesus, ^and arefoundVithm the pale of the Church, 
and those who know him not and are found without ; 
and of the disproportion in the number of blacks and 
whites converted to religion — if these are the results of 
denying them the privilege of reading the Word; one of 
the appointed means for the conversion of the world — 

24 ovn Slaves shouxd iiAVirniK mm At. 

should we not father fear sikI tremble, lest God in His 
anger would use them as instruments in His hands, to 
execute upon us terrible judgments for the assumption 
of such responsibility ? And can we say that these 
results are not attributable to this cause? To what 
else can we attribute them \ Not to the Church; for 
it is our boast that the negro, with the white man, 
lias an equal right to all the privileges of the Church — 
that they enjoy, in commonfall the advantages of 
the administrations of the Sanctuary. Not to de- 
fects in the moral discipline of the family ; for it is 
one of our favorite arguments in defence of the insti- 
tution, that the slave is blest with the religious instruc- 
tions, counsel and encouragements of the christian 
master. We ask again, to what else are they attribu- 
table ? If the Church and the master are not fear- 
fully and awfully deficient in duty, the conclusion is 
irresistable. Would it not be wise, then, to ^ pause 
and examine well the foundations of the position we 
have taken — to study profoundly the tremendous im- 
port of the responsibility we have assumed ? and 
never, never cease to ponder the subject until we are 
satisfied, in our minds, hearts and consciences, 
that there is no fallacy in the argument which excludes 
the slave from the light of the Bible, as reflected from 
its own pages. Risk the dangers of the thunderbolt 
—risk the dangers of the tempest— nay, of the bloody- 
plot — of an indiscriminate massacre; but risk not 
the danger of the wrath of an incensed Grod. Tam- 
per not° with the woes denounced against him who 
adds to, or subtracts from the law. Tamper not with 
the responsibility of detracting, in the slightest de- 
gree, from the fullest influence of the written word. 
It is better, by far, to trust the faithfulness of God, 
than to run the risk of stirring his anger. Better to 
suffer the utter destruction of the body, than that the 
soul should dwell in eternal burnings.